Pale Waves @ King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – 04/03/18

Written by on March 7, 2018

There’s been a lot of attention on Manchester’s Pale Waves ahead of their headline gig at Glasgow’s King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Their current tour is in support of their debut four track EP All The Things I Never Said and is taking them across Europe and the UK before they head out to America. Reaching fifth place on the BBC’s Sound of 2018 poll and extensive touring with The 1975 brought them into the spotlight and they have the music to stay there. The young, hip crowd who braved the snow were treated to a slice of well-crafted indie pop, blending the old and the new into something playfully unique.

Following opening act Bloxx’s brash grungy riffs, Pale Waves entered the stage to the sound of a speaker rattling bass synth to burst into Television Romance, tonally identical to the recording. To some it would be an odd choice of opener to engage an audience, with lyrics like “won’t you stop it, you and I haven’t got it” describing an emotional disconnect, but their fans lapped it up. Each song was met with adulation by the crowd, as they rattled through fan favourites The Tide, New Years Eve and new single Heavenly.

What is most striking about the band is the blend of styles, musically and aesthetically. Singer Heather Baron-Gracie and drummer Ciara Doran’s gothic appearance should clash with their pop output, but the band take so much from the 1980s and so much from today that their style doesn’t seem out of place at all. Their sound is built around Doran and bassist Charlie Wood’s upbeat, modern electro-pop groove, textured with Hugo Silvani’s simple, catchy, Smiths-meets-Cure guitar hooks and Baron-Gracie’s distinctive vocals. They balance and embrace joy and melancholy in every song, either in lyric or in tone, gently accompanied by a sense of anxiety. They borrow from The Cure, Haim, Prince and The 1975, bringing it all up to date and tying it seamlessly together.

The snag that comes with reaching the popularity Pale Waves have earned so early in their career is that they have to meet their fans high expectations with only a small amount of material. After playing their full EP, all their singles and a few unreleased tracks, the band closed the set with debut single There’s a Honey and left the stage after around 40 minutes, leaving their fans baying for more. They’re certainly one to look out for in the future. Pale Waves are due to release their debut album later in the year, but until then look out for them at the TRNSMT festival in June.



Review: Michael Lennie

Photo: Danny North

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